Baking Brown Bread in Tin Cans


Today I’m taking a little trip down memory lane.

It all started a few weeks ago when I saw something on Pinterest about baking in tin cans instead of using ordinary pans.   I read a little further and smiled because it was as if they had discovered something brand new.  Recycle!  Re-purpose!  And make cute cakes too!

Oh gosh.  What would my grandmothers think?

I don’t think either of my grandmothers baked quick breads in anything but tin cans for many years.  It was something they started doing during the depression and just kept on doing it.  Visiting a grandma usually meant having a piece of brown bread . . . and it was always round.  Always.

Because that’s how bread looks when it come out of a tin can .  :)


homemade brown bread

So for old time’s sake I made my grandmother’s brown bread recipe in tin cans today.  My mother used this method a lot too so having nice little circles of brown bread to eat this week will bring back lots of fond memories.

brown bread cansSo remember . . . if you want to make some small loaves of a quick bread and don’t have any small pans, you can always Make Your Own pans simply by recycling some clean tin cans.  Use cans from things that come in an approximate 14 oz size like diced tomatoes or beans.  Cans from soup or vegetables work good too.

Just make sure you’re very careful when cleaning out the cans to be aware of any sharp edges that might be around the rim.



You Will Need:

  • 3 or 4 tin cans – tops removed, labels removed, and washed

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1-1/2 cup raisins

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

  • 1-1/2 cups very hot water

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup chopped nuts

1.  Place the sugar, raisins, baking soda, salt, and butter in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the hot water over everything in the bowl.

2.  Let the mixture set for about a half an hour to let the raisins plump up.

3.  Next add the flour, egg, and nuts to the bowl and stir until everything is well mixed.

4.  Spray the inside of your clean tin cans generously with cooking spray.  You can also grease the pans with butter or crisco, but be careful sticking your hands inside the cans in case there are any sharp edges.

5.  Spoon the batter into the tin cans.  I used three cans and filled them about three quarters full.  You could also use four cans and fill them about half full for smaller loaves.

6.  Put the cans on a baking sheet (in case anything bubbles over).

7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  The bread will rise up out of the can a little bit.

brown bread in cans

8.  Once the cans are removed from the oven, let them cool for about an hour.

9.  To remove the bread, turn the cans over and give them a little shake and the bread should slip right out.


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    Feel free to comment or share your bright idea!

  1. Julie says

    How fun! Growing up, we used to have ‘easy dinners’ of Boston baked beans, Polish sausage, and canned brown bread from the grocery store. Eventually my mom couldn’t find it in the regular stores here in Northern CA so I haven’t had that kind of bread in years. I’ll have to make some!

    My only concern is using modern cans to bake in because most of them still have a BPA-laden coating on the insides, right? And BPA will transfer to foods quicker when heated. So I might try using glass freezer mason jars instead (1 or 1.5 pint size).

  2. Erika says

    How fun! Reminds me of date nut bread you can buy in the can :)

    Never have thought of doing this, but this size would be perfect for gift giving.

    I’ll make sure I get BPA free cans based on some other comments.

  3. cindy says

    this reminds me of a loaf my mom used to make when i was a kid, but she called it a ” hobo’ was delish

    • BeverlyBeverly says

      Yup, this is an older recipe, but it’s a good one worth keeping that helps remind us of our moms and grandmas :)

  4. Sharon says

    I have been making this bread for years..( my grandmothers recipe) Please make sure you use the cans without the plastic liner..alot of cans have turned to liners…) just my thought to you.

  5. Becky Byars says

    Hi I just discovered your website when I was looking for Bisquick substitute that I need for zucchini quiche, and I LOVE the ideas & recipes you’ve offered so far! I’m excited to make up my homemade Bisquick & then I think I’ll make the Red Lobster biscuits too. I’ve never had brown bread & want to try it too. I think is awesome idea to offer as gifts-homemade says so much more b/c of time & love spent on the effort that goes into it. I’ll definitely be referring to your site a lot now!! :)

      • Becky Byars says

        I tried the homemade Bisquick, & it turned out great in my quiche!! Also made the RL biscuits and turned out great as well. Thanks again:)

  6. Patricia says

    Thank you…lol, loved the comments. I misplaced my mom’s recipe but I knew someone would have it and her it is. This is also a nice way to give personal gifts. Take out of the can wrap in clear paper, colored is nice with pretty bow tied on either end. Good for teachers, pastors or close friends. Again thank you.

  7. Julie says

    Mom used to do this at Christmas time. I loved it! One comment was in regards to avoiding the sharp edge on the can. I have a can opener from a well known company that employs hostesses to show their product in people’s homes (in case we can’t do endorsements on this website). This can opener doesn’t cut the tin but lifts the complete lid away from the can, leaving both the lid and can free of any sharp edges. I teach preschool and those lids are great (no sharp edges) for gluing pictures or decorations on, punching a hole in, hanging from a ribbon and using as Christmas ornaments. Just a thought!

    • BeverlyBeverly says

      Thanks for sharing that JUlie! A can opener like you mentioned would be perfect for this purpose, and I love that you’re not letting those lids go to waste either.

  8. Debra Lane says

    I reuse BPA Free Cans (stated on the lower left side of can) of Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk. They are white on the inside. I like the idea of using the ( P.S.) can opener so the lid can be reused. I made Hobo Bread/Tin Can Bread as a grade schooler Girl Scout and then again as an Adult Instructer for the American Camping Association. Lost my recipe & so I was glad to find it here. I look forward to teaching my grandchildren how to make it.